It was a rainy night at Nixon Field last Friday when the Gaels roped in the Mustangs, forcing Western’s post-season to come to a halt in the Women’s Rugby OUA semi-final game.
Historically, the Gaels do well against the Mustangs, and have won the last seven of 10 games against the Mustangs, including a 53-0 shutout earlier this season. This weekend’s game was no different, with the Gaels beating the Mustangs 45-5.
Rachel Cullum, ArtSci ’26, captured the Gael’s first try of the game, and her points were then followed by a conversion from Captain Lizzie Gibson, ArtSci ’24, getting the Gaels off to a hot start.
Accompanied by a couple more tries from Maggie Banks, Nurs ’24, who was named OUA Athlete of the Week for her performance, the Gaels left the first half of the game with the lead.
After another couple of tries from Banks in the second half and Carmen Izyk, Nurs ’24, frequenting the try-zone, it was clear the Gaels weren’t slowing down.
Giving up a try late in the second half, the Gaels responded with a try by Jaden Walker, ArtSci ’24, off a short punt from Taylor Perry, ArtSci ’27.
Finishing the game at 45-5, the Gaels secured both their spot in the OUA finals as well as the U SPORTS national championships, confirming at least a couple more opportunities for fans to watch this year’s roster in action.
Gibson took the time to reflect on the emotions associated with winning their semi-final game.
“It feels really good,” she said. “Winning the semi-final means not only OUA finals, but we also punched our ticket to nationals. It solidifies the season and everything we’ve been building for.”
After the game, Banks attributed the team’s win to their dominant forward pack and recognized the work the team’s been putting in this season to elevate themselves above the competition.
“Our forward pack has put in so much work ever since May,” Banks said. “We’ve been getting together to do extra scrumming sessions [and] we’ve been training in scrums against our Men’s team, which, huge thank you to them.”
The Gaels have little time to celebrate their victory as they prepare to face off against their historic rivals the Guelph Gryphons at the OUA Championship.
The Gaels are currently on a win streak against Guelph, having beaten them in each of their last three meets. The last time they faced off, Cullum scored the game-winning try with mere seconds left on the clock to secure a hard-fought 25-20 victory for the Gaels.
Head Coach Dan Valley expanded on the possibility of playing the Gryphons and indicated he’s confident in the group heading into the playoffs.
“We’ve continued to build in all the right places,” Valley said. “We’re very well positioned to get in the ring with them next Friday and give them a pretty good fight.”
The Gaels will face off against the Gryphons on Nixon Field on Oct. 27.
All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to email@example.com.